Governor, Mayor Recognize City Employees who Responded to the Natural Gas Crisis

Governor Susana Martinez and Mayor Richard J. Berry recognized more than 100 city employees Friday who responded to the state’s natural gas crisis.

Fifty-eight 311 operators who worked around the clock answering calls from people without natural gas and water service were recognized as the city’s employees of the week. And, fifty-eight police officers and firefighters who went to Espanola and helped restore natural gas to homes were named Friday’s Heroes. Each Friday, Mayor Berry names an employee of the week for outstanding service and recognizes at least one public safety employee who goes above the call of duty. During a special ceremony Friday at the City’s South Broadway Cultural Center, Governor Martinez and Mayor Berry presented the 311 employees with a special certificate. The public safety employees were given the Mayor’s Hero’s Coin.

“This was an opportunity for Albuquerque to show that we are a community that cares about our neighbors throughout the state,” Mayor Berry said. “When the Water Utility Authority needed help answering their phone calls, it was our 311 employees who stepped up. And, when our neighbors in Northern New Mexico needed help, it was our police officers and firefighters who answered the call.”

Last week, Albuquerque police officers and firefighters offered to assist the New Mexico National Guard in restoring natural gas service to thousands of Northern New Mexico residents who were left without service during a record breaking winter storm.

Fifty-eight police officers and firefighters went to Espanola and helped restore gas service to more than 500 homes. The public safety employees worked through the night with little rest and took only a 2-hour break for a nap during the 24 hours they assisted the National Guard.

Meanwhile, the weather forced the city to keep its 311 Citizen Contact Center open 24 hours. 311 agents worked around the clock answering phone calls from residents frustrated with their lack of gas and water service. So far, since the storm broke a week ago Thursday, 311 agents have taken more than 65,000 calls, which is a 98 percent increase compared to normal activity.

The employees recognized include:

Lt. Jeremy McRae, Lt. Scott Lopez, Sgt. Dennis Barela. Sgt. Greg Brachle, Sgt. Patrick Ficke, Sgt. Sean Kenny, Sgt. Todd Mock, Michael Avila, Shane Bailey, Jesus Banuelos, Stella Candelaria, Charles Chavez, Matthew Chavez, Ronald Clipp, Simon Drobik, Jason Franklin, George Gabaldon, Daniel Garcia, John Garcia, Victor Grossetete, Matthew Hannum, Pat Hernandez, Tim Hotle, Andrew Jaramillo, Anthony Martinez, Wayne McCumber, John McDaniel, Chad Melvin, Max Miranda, Andy Montoya, John Gonzales, Matt Groff, Aaron Jones, Steve Martinez, Troy Nicko, Conor Ollquist, David Padilla, Isaac Romero, Frank Tillman, Joey Tosta, Mario Verbeck, Nick Wheeler,

Deputy Chief David Downey, Lt. Jeremiah Hansen, Lieutenant Michael Ochoa, Driver Raymond Sanchez, Driver Esquipula Tenorio, Firefighter Douglas Padilla, Lieutenant Johnnie Perea, Lieutenant AJ Bonnett, Driver Mark Lueras, Driver Eric Mendoza, Lieutenant Patrick Chavez, Driver Jason Valles, Driver Emiliano Chavez, Driver Brian Barnes

Angela Aragon, Charlene Aragon, Yvonne Avila, Alan Bankey, Hilary Barela, Michael Barnes, Melissa Bernal, Gary Black, Cynthia Blankenship, Jacqueline Bonilla, William Burleigh, Sylvia Caballero, Leia Cerno, David Chapa, Cristina Chavez, David Chavez,
Charles Cowen, Betty Dinelli, Catherine Edwards, Kenneth Elmshaeuser, Amanda Estrada, Becky Estrada, Christopher Garcia, Leisa Garcia, Renee Garcia, Melissa Gonzales, Norosvaldo Gonzalez, Theresa Griego, Joseph Ingoglia, Teresa Jaramillo
Sheryl Kruger, Bill Lavers, Steven Layden, Celia Loveland, Lisa Martin, Art Martinez,
Rosella Martinez, Jeannine Morin, Courtney Ortiz, Emilee Owen, Jackie Padilla, Linda Parson, , Raymond Perales, Katrina Pohl, Lisa Raymond, Tina Rich, Rosa Sanchez, Sandra Sanchez, Lercy Santizo, Catherine Sweeney, Jennifer Taylor, Esther Tenenbaum,
Freddy Trotman, Carol Ussery, Christopher Williams, Kendra Williams, Christina Wolffbrandt.